SA set to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation

SA set to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation

The South Australian government has released its first draft of legislation to make industrial manslaughter a criminal offence in the state, which will bring it in line with states which already have enacted the offence into law, including Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

The South Australian government will take feedback on the proposals until February next year, with the expectation of enacting the legislation later in the year.

The most significant changes to the legislation mean that a person can face a 20-year prison sentence, or companies can face a $15 million fine if they are found to have been reckless or grossly negligent in conduct that results in the death of another person.

Attorney-General Kyam Maher explained that “every South Australian deserves to be safe at work and come home to their families and loved ones at the end of each day.”

“Industrial manslaughter laws recognise that, while tragic workplace accidents do occur from time to time, it’s not an accident when people deliberately cut corners and place workers’ lives at risk.

“It’s a crime and it will be treated like one.”

South Australian Unions State Secretary Dale Beasley explained that the legislation was the result of ongoing campaigning in the preceding years.

“It’s not about beating up on bosses, it’s about sending the message that workers’ lives aren’t a line item on a balance sheet.” Mr Beasley said.

The bill will not be applied retrospectively, but it will cover instances where people later die from a disease they contract through their work. This is expected to have significant ramifications in silicosis and asbestosis cases.

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